Saturday, March 19, 2016

The 4 Elements of Excellent Assessments

There is no shortage of assessments in schools today. No matter the school, the lack or surplus of resources, or the collective expertise of the teaching staff, there will always be an assessment to give to students. The issue is not whether we have assessments or even if they're good assessments.  The question we have to continually ask ourselves is if our assessments possess the elements that accelerate learning. In other words, do we intentionally put the MENT in assessment?

The 4 Elements of Excellent Assessments

Do our assessments and the data that they yield mean anything to the teachers who create them and the students who take them?  Furthermore do our assessments make learning a truly meaningful experience for both our teachers and students?

Do our assessments cause students to generate an excitement about learning and a desire to know more about the content, especially if the content is difficult for them?

Narrow the Focus
Do our assessments tell students which specific skills are mastered, which specific skills are still struggling and what kids need to do next to master deficit skills?

Do our assessments result in greater tenacity in our students' quest for learning or turn kids off of learning altogether. Additionally, do our assessments result in teachers becoming more tenacious in their efforts to guarantee learning for every student, especially our lowest students?

Putting the MENT in Assessment
Assessments were never meant to kill learning, but some assessments dissolve from rigor into rigor-mortis while others transform rigor into vigorous learning. The deciding factor in whether or not our assessments will lead all kids to excellence depends 100% on how we decide to use those assessments to drive our instruction and inspire our students to love and take ownership of their learning. Ultimately, how we design assessments and respond to the data that they yield will always be what separates the best from the rest. 

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